Police Decide to Open Temple Mount on Friday; Fatah Calls for 'Day of Rage' in Jerusalem

Following shooting of Yehuda Glick,reinforced police detachments remain in Jerusalem; Palestinian sources say violence could resume after prayers on Friday.

Reuters

The Temple Mount will be open as usual on Friday, following its closure to all visitors and worshippers on Thursday in response to the shooting of prominent right-wing activist Yehuda Glick on Wednesday night.

The decision to reopen the holy site was taken by Jerusalem Police commander Moshe (Chico) Edri on Thursday evening, following a review of the security situation in East Jerusalem.

Glick was reported to be in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Shaare Zedek Hospital on Thursday night.

"I am able to say that his condition has improved and we are a little more optimistic than we were last night," said Professor Petachia Reissman, head of the hospital's general surgery department.

"But he is still not out of danger."

Police commander Edri also decided to restrict Friday Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount to men over the age of 50 and women of all ages. His decision was based on intelligence information that Palestinian youths intend to disturb the peace at the conclusion of the prayers.

The police commander called on the public to display responsibility and maintain quiet in the city.

Large police and Border Police detachments remain stationed in Jerusalem, particularly in the eastern part of the city and in areas where there have been clashes with protesters recently.

That presence will be reinforced with additional forces in the Old City and the Temple Mount area on Friday.

Police arrested two Palestinian youths on Thursday night on suspicion of stoning cars in the Jerusalem area. No injuries or damage were reported. One youth, aged 14, was detained for questioning, while the second, aged 11, was released into the custody of his parents.

'Day of Rage' 

Protest marches are expected to take place throughout the West Bank after prayers on Friday, Fatah sources told Haaretz. The atmosphere across the Green Line is reported to be tense and angry, they said, and clashes are possible if the marchers approach security positions or roadblocks.

The Fatah chapter in Jerusalem called for Friday to be a day of rage, following the shooting death of Muatnaz Hijazi, 32, the suspected assailant of Glick. Police said that they shot Hijazi after he opened fire on police when they arrived at his home to arrest him.

Islamic Jihad published a notice of mourning for Hijazi on Thursday, saying that he was a member of the organization, though it did not take official responsibility for the attack on Glick.

Daoud Shehab, the organization's spokesman, described Hijazi as a "dangerous inciter."

MK Basel Ghattas(Balad) on Thursday called for an investigation into the killing of Hijazi, saying that it raised many questions that required answers. Contradictions in the version of the shooting given by the police raised doubts as to whether it was an attempt to arrest the suspect or a deliberate killing, he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded strongly to the decision to close the Temple Mount on Thursday, describing it as a "declaration of war" o the Palestinian people.

"Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line," said Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, adding that the Palestinians will use all measures available to it in international law to bring Israel to account and to halt the aggression.